Farmers and agricultural producers of the Smarhonski and Ašmianski districts of the Hrodna region and the Valožyn district of the Minsk region are embracing organic farming corresponding to the EU standards, thanks to the pilot initiative within the “Supporting the Transition to a Green Economy in the Republic of Belarus” project funded by the European Union in Belarus and implemented by UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Belarus.
Thanks to the measures on the extension of organic farming, the land area under organic farming at the mentioned districts has been increased by 43 hectares. The initiative has been implemented by the Hrodna Regional Farmers' Association.
The "Vermi-Ecoproduct" eco-farm has become one of the key partners of the initiative. The agricultural equipment for the needs of the farm, purchased for the EU funds, including a tractor, a cultivator and other machines, was installed at the farm premises and has allowed to extend the production of humic fertilizers for organic farming from 500 to 2,000 liters a season. That was made possible by the substitution of manual work with the automatization thanks to the purchased equipment.
The land and 19 types of the products grown by the "Vermi-Ecoproduct", including carrots, tomatoes, potatos, cucumbers, etc., have successfully gone through the organic certification for the correspondence to the EU standards.
The experience of certification of the eco-farm’s lands corresponding to the EU standards was spread to the three neighbouring farms as well. It has helped them to embrace the principles of organic farming and reach the ecological, economical and social impact.
After several workshops with the participation of foreign experts in organic farming, three farms - "Rodnik-Pro", "Agro-Vestara" and "Amager" - are now testing the humic fertilizers produced by "Vermi-Ecoproduct" at their farms and benefiting from the experience of organic farming in accordance with the EU principles. The farms are working on the recultivation of lands that have been used for traditional farming, preparing them for the greener organic farming.
Liquid humic fertilizers are good for the eco-friendly farming and can be brought to the land that has gone through the organic certification. They will allow Belarusian farms to substitute more expensive foreign analogues with the cheaper local one. In the future, the harvest will be certified as organic. In the perspective, the successful transition to the organic farming will allow farms to create new green jobs.
The pilot initiative is a part of the large-scale project "Supporting the Transition to a Green Economy in the Republic of Belarus", which aims at supporting the Republic of Belarus in generating “green” economic growth based on “green” principles, including environmentally sustainable and economically feasible use of natural resources, promotion of environmentally sustainable production and consumption, green jobs creation, changing target groups' behavior towards greater environmental sustainability.
The budget of the project "Supporting the transition to a “green” economy in the Republic of Belarus", in the framework of which 23 pilot initiatives are implemented, is 5 million euro. The budget of the pilot initiative on the introduction of organic farming at the farms of Minsk and Hrodna regions is 110,000 euro.